By Dr. Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant, Orthopedic, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones get weakened, increasing the risk of sudden and unexpected fractures. Literally meaning “porous bone,” osteoporosis leads to increased loss of bone mass and strength. This condition often progresses without any symptoms or pain.
Menopause means the permanent end of menstruation and fertility. As per the National Institute on Aging, most women start experiencing hormonal changes due to menopause between the ages of 45 and 55.
As women hit menopause, the estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decrease. Estrogen acts as a natural protector and guard of bone strength. The lack of estrogen leads to the progress of osteoporosis. The lack of estrogen, a natural result of menopause, is directly related to a decline in bone density. The longer a woman experiences low level of estrogen, the lower her bone density is expected to be. Females who are at greater risk for osteoporosis are those who:
- Experience early menopause, before age 45
- Go a long time without having a menstrual period
- Have very irregular periods, indicating that they are not ovulating regularly
Other factors may be responsible for weakened bones. When these reasons are combined with decreased estrogen levels during menopause, osteoporosis may begin or develop faster if it’s already happening in the bones.